Tag Archives: literacy

Silver Award project: Free Little Library

For their Silver Award project, Girl Scouts from Troop 14013 Megan T. and Hailey T. in Grand Junction designed, built, and installed a Free Little Library at Lincoln Park. The girls love reading and wanted to share that love with their community. The library was immediately used by children and adults.

Mandy Beilman was at the girls’ event because she has been visiting Free Little Libraries around the country. GSCO asked her a few questions about her personal connection to Free Little Libraries.

When did you get started doing this?

I remember seeing Little Free Libraries in online articles, but never seeing one in person. I saw my first one in the summer of 2016 in Homer, Alaska. My family was there for a deep sea fishing trip and I spotted one with a mermaid on it. I swapped out the book I had brought along for the trip with a new read. After that, I started noticing them more places and being intentional about seeking them out.

Where have you experienced these?

In many places! I’ve visited several in Anchorage, AK, as well as the one in Homer. The farthest east I’ve gone is Topeka, KS. I plan to continue seeking them out whenever I got to a new place. My daughter and I like to take photos of them and I have an album on Facebook. My favorite ones so far are the ones that I find by accident. There’s a bit of magic in finding one and seeing what books it holds!

What is your interest in LFL?

I’m a high school English teacher, so literacy is important to me. I love the idea of giving out free books, it’s a great community service! Plus, I think the libraries are cute; I enjoy seeing all of the different styles. I can’t wait to put one in my front yard.  (As soon as I sign the closing papers on my first home).

What made you come to this one?

I saw the girls putting it together and thought I’d come over and visit! I’ve never been the first patron before, my daughter and I really enjoyed that.  The one the girls designed is beautiful, and it has a perfect location, right next to a park.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Emma Kerr, Monument, “Learning to Read, Enjoy, and Discover (READ)”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award project included two components. One aspect of it was building a bookshelf/reading center, and collecting pillows for a corner at Lewis Palmer Elementary School. The purpose of this was to create an inviting book nook that would draw kids to literature. The second aspect of my project was a Read-A-Thon program at the same elementary school. With the help of LPES, I was able to involve over 300 students in a fun, competitive reading program. High school students volunteered their time by reading with/to students of all ages.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

After building and implementing the bookshelf in the library, I heard only positive comments from the librarian on the relationship between picking up a book and the new nook. Students were drawn by the comfortable pillows and funky bookshelf/reading center to go straight for a novel and curl up with it.

Through the numerous reading hours logged by the students from the Read-A-Thon, it was obvious that putting a fun twist on the idea of reading can encourage a student to pick up a book more often. The Read-A-Thon ended with computing the hours logged and providing students and classes with prizes for outstanding participation.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

Lewis Palmer Elementary School has picked up the Read-A-Thon to continue with it beyond the initial year. The bookcase and pillows are both very substantial and will be reusable for years to come. They were handmade by many local women’s organizations in the Monument Community who were happy to help. The pillows have coverings so they can be washed and used for many years.

It is my hope that the students that participate in years to come have the same experience that these initial students were granted. The goal of the project is to create a more familiar relationship with reading and give students something that they can improve on for their personal benefit.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

Beyond Lewis Palmer Elementary School, I am helping a high school in another area implement the same project at one of their feeder schools. They won’t be building a bookshelf/reading center, but through a simplified Read-A-Thon plan they can use high school volunteers to implement the program.

The amazing part of my project is that the group of children that will be impacted are those that still have their whole lives ahead of them. My goal was to focus on those still developing so that they can form and build upon reading skills – skills that can help in almost any area of learning or life skills.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I need to set written goals for myself in order to ensure things get done. I also learned that I really enjoy working with younger kids.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

Reaching my Gold Award was a lot of hard work and required lots of determination. From this process I have acquired new skills in communication, project planning, and presentation. These will be useful in almost any area of my future.

Also, now I can say that I have my Gold Award! Which is a connection to thousands of other girls and also is an avenue to earn scholarships for college!

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

My Gold Award was the “cherry on top” for my experience with Girl Scouts. I have been a Girl Scout since I was six (And I am fortunate that it my leader has been the same my entire Girl Scout years!) and have always dreamed of reaching every level of scouting. I know this is marking the end for me being a member of a troop, but I will always be a Girl Scout. The morals of a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart I will retain forever and I can thank Girl Scouts for developing them into what they are today.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

Earning my Gold Award has shaped me towards an innovative mindset. Now, I look around my community and instead of just seeing problems I also see possible solutions. I may not have combated the most pressing issue in my community, but I was passionate about it and that’s what made the process a whole lot more fun.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Loveland Juniors support literacy in early childhood


Submitted by Lana Berning And Sierra Sikich
Northern and Northeastern Colorado

We love reading! And we wanted to share that love with others.

We looked at our community and decided that the best way to instill the love of books was to start early, we knew that not every family could afford a lot of books, so we set out to give a book that they could keep to each preschooler in our school district.

We wanted to collect 1,500 books to give out. We met with the preschool team for the district to discuss what we wanted to do, They thought it was a wonderful way to help young children to love reading. We put together a donation letter and went to all the local bookstores asking for donations. With the help of friends, family and Book Haven (a used book store here in Loveland) We collected over 2,200 books.

WOW! we never expected to get that many. Our next step was contacting the preschools. We got a list from our contact at the school district and sent out email’s and made calls to set up days and times that we can go in to read a story to the kids and give them books. We went to all 14 preschools that are part of our school district and read Green Eggs and Ham to the kids, and since we had gotten so many more books than we set out for we were able to give each child 2 books of their own to keep.

We had many books left over which included quite a few chapter books. So we decided to donate them to Alternatives to Violence to build a library in their Safe house and to donate some to the School District to split between the preschools to have more books on hand for the kids to read and enjoy.

We had a lot of fun collecting books to share the love of reading with. It felt amazing to see all the excited faces of the preschoolers when the got their books and we told them they where theirs to keep. We hope that the many kids we read to will continue reading and enjoying all the places you can visit and adventures you can have through books.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Help Advance Literacy in Colorado

Tips for Running a Successful Book Drive with EPIC 

Click here to download the CBR Poster (in English and Spanish).

Key Dates

  • Book drive is April 22 – May 17
  • Start to pick up books around May 15 (or upon request if box is full)
  • Start to sort books around May 20
  • Book distribution is from May 21-June 14 (staggered depending on site)

Connections to Colorado Business Reads/EPIC

Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) is your partner to ensure you have the support you need for a successful book drive in your community.

  • Keep in touch with Marie Hueston (marie@coloradoepic.org, 303-587-4223) and pass along Host Site information for each location that receives a box.  This is critical to maintain all contacts in one database and for thanking Hosts at the end of the book drive – we want to make sure we have a complete list.
  • Keep track of the number of books collected by each site and report the final numbers to the Host Sites and to Marie for the database.
  • Email myworld@gscolorado.org and let us know about your project too! http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/colorado-reads

Community Connections

Stay in contact with your community stakeholders listed below so they know what to expect throughout the book drive.

Host Sites:  These are the businesses hosting boxes at their site(s).   Check in on each site weekly and help support their efforts with the book drive.  If the box is full, please remove and store the books, or provide another box.

Book Sorting Volunteers:  Recruit volunteers who can sort through the books.  EPIC can support your efforts for a fun day for volunteers with music, beverages, food and a comfortable place in which do sort the books.

Distribution Sites:  Work with the Distribution Sites to make the book distribution a memorable event for the children.

Donors:  Always let people know that monetary donations are an option as well.  Any funds received, will receive a 50% match from Usborne books, which means more books for children in your community.

Finally, celebrate your success with all of your stakeholders and enjoy the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives this summer!